When I first met Matty and Danny of South Shore Massachusetts’ favorite New Found Glory rip-off band, A Loss For Words, I said the same thing to both of them on different occasions:
“You seem like a nice guy, but I really hate your band.”
In retrospect, I probably could have phrased this better; hate is a strong word. This became apparently true when Matty’s usual goofy smile changed to a look of pure dejection. Oops. Hate was much too strong off a word when, in reality, I just never got the appeal. I tried to backpeddle, stumbling over my words, but it was useless…the damage, done. It was at that moment, right when I was about to choke on my own foot, that I finally got it.
“Oh,” I thought, “these guys are serious.”
And that of course, changed everything.
A Loss for Words have since grown on me exponentially (I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t mostly due to their cover of Boyz II Men’s Water Runs Dry) and it would be unfair if I didn’t admit that some of the best nights I’ve had were centered around their shows. For that, I am thankful, and will always appreciate them in a distant way. But my appreciation stems less from the actual music and more from the love that so obviously surrounds it. If I had dismissed these guys, I would be missing out on a lot of good friends and really great (albeit alcohol-induced), adventurous nights.
This distinction of whether or not someone is passionate about music became utterly important since then and it has stood for a much larger dichotomy in my life: Can I relate to someone who really, really loves horrible music?
One truth is this: I have never been able to relate to someone who doesn’t love music. If you have ever once uttered the phrase, “I like all music (except classical and country)” please stop reading now. It makes me cringe whenever I hear this and I immediately shut the speaker out of my life forever. This may be unfair, a little mean, a lot pretentious, but it’s the truth.
Another truth: I have come to similar conclusions about potential new friends if I learn that say, they do have an obvious passion and a valid opinion about music and their opinion is that Puddle Of Mudd is the best band ever. Same thing: out of my life.
The second truth results in a bit more guilt because it’s opinion based. I am constantly trying to decide where to draw the line, and usually it defaults to: hey you, you with the DrowningPool sticker on your car, yah, out of my life. Sometimes, this blanket dismissal of a large part of the population makes me a bit sad. Am I missing out on experiencing some decent and eclectic friendships because I have such strong opinions? Probably not. Is it fair of me to judge others so harshly when I myself own an Ashley Simpson cd? Time and again, my answer is yes. It’s entirely fair to judge others so emptily on their taste in music. You may think that this makes me a shallow person, but I disagree. The fact that I only have attractive friends makes me a shallow person.